Korean pig trotter (Jokbal), Jangchungdong, Seoul

Jokbal – Korean pig’s feet, another popular food here. Dined at the Original Jangchungdong Grandmother’s Place a couple of weeks ago – finally a restaurant that I can name in English lol. It’s one of the first jokbal restaurants at the famous Jangchungdong jokbal street in Seoul…

The jokbal are prepared in the simplest way… with 20-30 trotters seasoned and simmered for a few hours in one large pot.

The secret of each restaurant is the simmering broth which is repeatedly used everyday. Most would claim that their broth are used since the restaurants were established… and this particular one has been running for more than 50 years.

If you are not familiar with oriental cuisine you might be shocked by the fact, but the simmering broth is often perceived as ‘the older the better’ in oriental cooking. It’s believe that the essence of the meat and ingredients would accumulate day by day… it’s valuable stuff that new restaurants can’t compete with.

There’s not much spices that were used to simmer the jokbal here. The first bite brought out a strong and fresh meaty taste; the skin was chewy but the meat was tender; and it’s not oily at all… absolutely fantastic at the beginning.

But after a few pieces it became a bit bland for me – as Malaysians tend to prefer heavier flavour – and it’s odd to eat it cold. In the end I had to rely on the sauces and chillies to finish it off. Worth trying but not a dish I would take regularly.

A jokbal costs about 20,000 (~US$18) to 30,000 won depending on the size of the trotter; pretty standard price for the whole street. Ours was the smallest portion at 20,000 won, which was just nice for two person.

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